Conditions in Afghanistan are worse today than they were when the Soviets withdrew, even if the insurgency is weaker. No actors share a compelling vision for the future of Afghanistan. No faction is strong enough to exert full control over the country. As the U.S. and NATO prepare for a drawdown, they must be clear-eyed about the likely outcome.
As a potential deal with the Taliban nears, key Afghan warlords have begun preparing for a potential civil war. There are indicators that Tajik, Uzbek, and Hazara leaders are taking steps to mobilize their ethnic communities in preparation for a power struggle.